Interview on The Agave Social Club Podcast

Interview on The Agave Social Club Podcast

Interview by Doug Price of The Agave Social Club



or the transcript is below:

Doug Price: Two worlds, one spirit. When you take a hundred point Cabernet Sauvignon French oak barrels and meld them with some of the best tequila being produced, you get something truly special. My guests today have done just that. With their expertise in wine and deep passion for tequila, they've created El Negocio, an authentic, additive free, luxury tequila that is sure to impress wine lovers and tequila aficionados alike. We're going to hear their story and taste through their lineup on this episode of the Agave Social Club Podcast, hosted by me, Doug Price. Welcome to the show. This is the Agave Social Club podcast. I'm your host, Doug Price. I'm here with founders Adam Craun and Nicholas Lutz from El Negocio Tequila. Guys, welcome to the show. It's an honor to have you.

Nicholas Lutz: Thanks for having us.

Adam Craun: Pleasure to be here.

Doug Price: Adam, you've got a large background in the arts as you were a classically trained artist. You're no stranger to the spirit world as you made quite a name for yourself in the wine world. And now you and Nicholas, you guys have set your sights to tequila. Tell me a little more about your background and kind of the roadmap from artist to Vintner to now making exceptional tequila.

Adam Craun: Yeah. Well, originally I live in California now in Los Angeles, town called Manhattan beach, and I grew up on the East coast. Right outside Washington DC in a town called Bethesda, Maryland. I was a swimmer and that actually paid for me to go to college in New England. I went to Boston University. And I was a machine kind of growing up swimming 10 to 12 times a week and never was exposed to alcohol, but I found it in college. I really found craft beers in college, actually. was an artist, studied fine arts in college. I was a painter. And then after school, I moved to Chicago for a minute. And then I moved to Los Angeles in 1998 and built my life out here. Once I got to California, I just wanted to see what the wine world was all about. And I didn't really know the difference between red and white wine at the time. So I just kind of fell in love with it. Would go to our local grocery store and buy different types of wine and fell in love with it that way. How I got into the wine business, actually, I had two other business partners in Memento Mori. That's the name of my winery in Napa Valley, California. One of my business partners, Adriel Lares, was kind of a serial CFO in Silicon Valley... the smartest guy in the room. And he bought a timeshare in Napa Valley in 2005. At the time he would go up from San Francisco up to the Napa Valley, which is about a 45 minute drive every weekend back and forth. And so I would take a $39 Southwest flight and fly up and meet him once every month or so. And during that time, for a couple of years, actually, we drank our way through the entire Napa Valley. And we got to hang out with the locals and dine everywhere there. And all the locals were winemakers. So we started collecting wines and kind of just fell in love with the romantic idea of wine.

Doug Price: Yeah, what was it that drew you in? I mean, the, the idea of terroir as you're kind of newer into wine, but what was it hearing their stories or seeing the process? But what was it that really kind of made you fall in love with it?

Adam Craun: I love that question. It's, it's a lot of it. It's the families that are farmers, the business owners that are trying to create these small brands. Yeah. That they love and have such personal meaning to them. And I just fell in love with the community there. And. Nicholas and I like to say we have a special relationship with alcohol, but it's one of those things, he's a big collector as I am too. And then we started getting invited to harvest up in Napa Valley and at one of those harvests with another proprietor of a winery called Realm Cellars, Juan Mercado. He asked Adriel and I, why don't you guys do this? And on a whim we scraped together five or 10 K. We bought one French oak barrel and half a ton of grapes, and we made 300 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2008. And all of our friends and family bought it, and that's how it started. We rebranded everything to Memento Mori in 2009 and we launched our brand in 2010 with one other business partner Hayes. And that's how we started. And we made 151 cases and no one would buy a bottle. And so we just hustled and traveled for years and years, trying to build the brand and that's how it started.

Doug Price: And now, I mean, that's a very sought after, I mean, you've, you've built a cult following with that brand. I mean, so for you guys to, to grow it for people that said, Hey, we just have passion to jump into it. It's gotta be pretty awesome. And back to what you were saying about why you love it... as you're saying that all that it hits with tequila. All of that hits with the people that you meet, the producers that are making the tequila, the land, all of that just runs in line with why we all love tequila. And so it's pretty awesome to see that. That's universal. I mean, from good quality spirit to good quality spirit, wine, tequila, that's universal. And that's a pretty special thing.

Adam Craun: It really is. You know our brand El Negocio. We call it a Vintner style tequila because we approach tequila exactly the same way. With the same love and care that we do a world class wine. So it starts in the vineyards, just like it starts in the agave fields. And it matters how that's grown. You know, the agave that we like to use for El Negocio, it has to be properly mature, right. So that's, that's a Chava decision. And we empower him to make those decisions for Nicholas and I, our directive is clear. You buy the top tier A1, the best grade agave that you can find. And so we're trying to empower Chava, and we'll get into that in a little bit more, with, you know, we want you to make decisions based on the quality. and no other decisions. So make the best product you can. If we give you all of these tools, the same way we did with our winemaker in Napa Valley,  Sam Kaplan, is if we give you all the tools, what is the dream project that you could make? And so we're empowering Chava to do the same, you know, he's not restricted by the family name or the other brands that are making decision by cost. Or for whatever reasons when you start a business, those decisions are made for Nicholas and I, it is quality first and then everything is built around the juice, everything else, the packaging, the branding, the storytelling, all that. But if the quality of the juice doesn't deliver. You're dead in the water.

Doug Price: And Nicholas, it seems like you don't like to rest as you've been starting companies since you were 17 years old and have got onto many successful ventures latest being El Negocio. Tell me a little bit about your background and then how did you and Adam get together?

Nicholas Lutz: Yeah. So my background, I grew up outside of Seattle, so I actually grew up on a farm. Raised horses moved down to San Diego for college. I met my wife, I have two kids now. I actually moved up to San Clemente, met Adam at Hayes's house, what would be his future business partner, Memento Mori, and then met Adam. They started Memento Mori together. I was actually the first customer, strangely enough, of Memento Mori when they couldn't sell it to anybody. Fast forward five years now, his wife and my wife traveled the world together. They're probably better friends than Adam and I are now. So it is true. They're probably texting right now, as a matter of fact, but then Adam and I actually we were sitting at the top of a mountain in Tahoe on a guy's ski trip, and we had talked about doing a product together for a long time. And actually the, the song, The Business came on and we settled at that point really on making a tequila and came up with the idea of, you know, utilizing his 100 point cabernet Memento Mori barrels to age that.

Doug Price: I love it. You guys coming together, you're on a trip, you know, we hear the story a lot and, and I know the quality is what you guys are after, but, there's always the story to tell. And you guys are on a trip going, Hey, why don't we do this? And you know, you're, you're bringing in Adam's love for, I mean, both of you guys have a huge wine background, but just with these barrels. But there's, there's a lot that goes into finding the right partner to make your tequila. This is, as we mentioned, coming out of NOM 1123 with Chava, the Cascahuin distillery hands down one of the best distilleries producing tequila right now, led by Chava, his father, his brother, Ben. Did you know like, Hey, this is what we're after. Did you go right to the top? Did you already have these barrels that you said, I'm going to, I know I'm using these barrels or what was that story? You know, it's a lot more than just saying, Hey, you want to make tequila? Yeah. Let's make tequila. What was some of those early, you know, inceptions of the conversation and how you guys found Chava and got to Cascahuin.

Nicholas Lutz: You know, it's always who you know, and luckily me knowing Adam helped get the barrels, but then him having his wine with a gentleman named Wero out down in Guadalajara it was huge because through Wero who's now become a very close friend of ours, we were able to meet a dozen or more of the best distillers, master distillers throughout the valley and in the highlands also. And so we spent multiple trips going down there and interviewing. So it was a really long and drawn out process. And actually the last distiller we met with, and I think Wero Cham did this on purpose, was Cascahuin and Chava . And we went in there, we left a little bit tipsy actually, after we finally left there. But we were absolutely blown away because in Chava, we really found everything that we were looking for. Right. Chava is no nonsense. I'm going to make it the traditional way. I'm going to make it the right way. And even if you have a great idea, if it goes against the traditional, you know, method of making high quality tequila, he's just not interested. He's not interested in Cristalino. He's definitely not interested in additives. He's interested in a true story, a real product and making something that, you know, him and father and his grandfather would have been proud of. So for us, it would. After meeting him, it was game over. That's who we wanted to work with. And actually when we got in the car to go home with our friend, we said, Hey, who do you think we want to go with? And he's like, I know who you guys have, I've known since the first time you guys came down here, who you're going to end up with. You're going to end up with Chava. And we're like, okay. Yeah, we are, actually. We've decided when we were in there that we're going with him. But then taking it one step further, you know, we had this idea on the top of a mountain. We're going to make this amazing product and we're going to use your wine barrels. There was absolutely no guarantee that that was not the dumbest idea in the world. The end product was going to turn out terrible, right? But we had, we had done two things, right... we had the barrels and now we have the Master Tequila Maker. And now we just had to test it and see if it would work. And funny enough, you know, We made our Blanco came out great. We actually sent it back tweaked the recipe a little bit We put it in the barrels and for the first four months it did absolutely nothing So for the first four months we had no color.

Doug Price: It's just plain barrels in California. You hadn't shipped anything there yet

Nicholas Lutz: Oh no, I'm sorry, when we shipped the Memento Mori wine barrels down to Cascahuin

Doug Price: OK so he had them...,

Nicholas Lutz: we filled them. Yeah, and for the first four months, you know, we're biting our nails, we're getting reports back, we're flying down there, we're tasting it. There is nothing happening to this Blanco that's in these barrels. I mean, it is, it's not changing in color, it's not changing in flavor. Really? So, we went from thinking we had a brilliant idea to we have just done the dumbest thing in the world. But then, month five, Something miraculous happened and those barrels just gave everything they could. And actually by month six, we were done with our repo. So what you have with the repo really kind of came on hard in the last couple of months of aging.

Doug Price: And the whole time where you guys was thinking this is a terrible idea. We're never going skiing again and brainstorming what we want to do as you're trying to figure out what was going on with these barrels.

Nicholas Lutz: Yeah, we just thought we were going to have some very, very light brown reposado filling a warehouse somewhere.

Adam Craun: Not me. I'm the eternal optimist. I will say I've believed in this since day one and I love this more than anything. It's my purpose in life. And so, this has all been so exciting for me. But certainly, using this barrel program and approaching it like grapes and wine, and really caring about that... It's not an afterthought. It's very, very deliberate. just like the fruit, just like the Directive to Chava. Make the best thing you've ever wanted to make with us. We're giving you all these tools. so much. You know, we have no ego in this at all. You tell us what you want to make. And I think, what I think is interesting, because a lot of these distilleries, for people that don't know, they get approached by so many brands and wanting to make brands. And, you know, and what's the differentiator there? You know, they just almost, they can almost like take orders. For, for customers to make their own brand. And ours is a different approach. We want, we want to give Chava those tools to, Hey, if you could make a really unique project and you, you choose the alcohol percentage, we'll give you the barrels and the, and the tools, the literally the best barrels, French oak barrels from the best cooperages in the world to age them, you go out and find us the best agave. And let's see what happens. Let's take that risk.

Doug Price: And that's what this brand is about. Like I said off camera, Chava's a dear friend. And I just, I mean I've said this multiple times. I don't know if there's anybody making better tequila than him. I mean there's, I mean he's in a league. And there's so many, I mean there's other legends up there. But, but I, I strongly believe that In the future, he's going to continue to carry the torch for great amazing tequila. That being said, I don't think there are a ton of newer brands going to his distillery that are getting that opportunity. It's one thing to say, I want you to make my tequila. It's another thing for him to say, I will make your tequila because his production right now, I mean, he's growing his own brand Cascahuin, which is phenomenal and production. What was it? That you guys were able to not convince him But was it the idea of your wine background and the barrels or did you guys say something that just sparked his you know? Curiosity to say yes, we want to have a partnership with you guys to make this brand

Adam Craun: We're passionate about this. Like I said, Nick and I don't have an ego in this we want to do we love Mexico We love the culture We love the tequilas and this brand, you know, Chava for people that don't know Chava Rosales. He is for all intents and purposes famous in Mexico among the real tequila geeks down there. Yeah. In the United States, people don't really know who he is. We do because we're kind of tequila geeks. We're alcohol geeks. And so we hear his name and Cascahuin, but the majority of the population doesn't know who this guy is. And our brand is about showcasing his artistry. This brand is about Chava. And branding is such a huge part of any product and brand and it really in the world, Nick and I have a philosophy, you know, that the best books and poems and songs, they'll never be read or heard. And because they didn't get out there for people to hear and read and see, and because they were branded wrong. And if you can, if you can brand like these winemakers in Napa, some of the best winemakers in Napa, they'll never be known. Because they didn't have the right branding to get their name out. And it's really kind of a shame to be honest. And so it's, this isn't a sad song about that, but it's, we want to showcase how amazing this guy is. And that's what our brand is about.

Doug Price: You know, where your tequila is being made. You've got the name. Both of those are huge steps in this process, other than maybe a little scary few months of trying to figure out what these barrels are going to do. Were there Nicholas, any other ups and downs throughout this process as you guys were, were locking this in? Did, did you think like, Oh no, me and Adam are going to lose our friendship. What are our wives going to think as they're such good friends or, or what were some of the challenges and ups and downs that you guys had in these early

Nicholas Lutz: So I come from a background of. multiple things, but construction being the primary one, do a lot of work in hospitals. But I'm very used to start and stops being guaranteed. I'm used to a timeline to make sense. I I've had to become used to doing business in Mexico and, you know, with a farm product and. You know, timelines that kind of move and ebb and flow. So I've had to learn a little bit of patience there, but it's my art partner. At Cascahuin, it's been great. And kind of teaching me those ropes, funny story. When we, when we first went down there, you know, I all excited and I created a Gantt chart of, okay, we're going to start here and then we're going to have a product here, you know, and it was about the same. Six month timeline. And a year later when we finally got our product I realized why everyone on the other side of the table was just smiling as I was going through this big presentation on how we were going to be done in six months. So that along with you Mexico customs, I've learned patience and understand a little

Doug Price: different. Yeah. Adam, for you with background already creating one brand with Memento Mori, how did that teach you, prepare you as you're coming in? I mean, this is now like Nicholas was saying, this is another country where things are a little different. B what was it that you've learned from your background in the spirits industry to bring for El Negocio?

Adam Craun: Well, you know, I think with any business, the relationships that you have are everything.

Doug Price: Yeah.

Adam Craun: And so when you go into business with someone like Nick and I, it's for all intents and purposes, it's a marriage. And so you, you trust that person implicitly. And so that part has been an amazing aspect of our brand. I love that guy, but I think to, to, to answer your question, I don't know. I think there's a lot more differences between the wine world and the spirits world than I thought there was more the actual making and the processes of making wine are. Eerily similar but the business side is very, very different. And so we're learning as we go.

Doug Price: And I've got these three samples in front of me. We've got your Blanco, your Joven, and your Reposado. I want to have you guys talk us through each of Each one as we, as we start with the Blanco, I know Chava has got multiple tools at his disposal from the brick ovens to Tahona to roller mill. So walk us through a little bit of the process as we get into this Blanco.

Adam Craun: Sure. So again, it goes back to our philosophy of this product. Actually each of our products, it's really, really important that they stand alone. So each one has to be amazing in their own right. And whatever that process is, that's Chava's choice as an artist, we support. And so ultimately the three of us make the decision about what the final product is going to be. But the recipe for our Blanco is different than the recipe for our aged products. And so, yeah, and there is a reason for that because the real tequila geeks, as you know, really the a Blanco is, Is a, is a real indicator on, on what the, the brand can produce if you will. So it was really important to us while the aging was a big part of this brand using French oak barrels, we had to make sure that the Blanco actually probably delivered. In a lot of ways more. And so we wanted to showcase Java. And so what we did is we did trials of using just the Roller Mill, which for listeners that don't know, it's a more efficient way of producing tequila and the Tahona wheel is, is maybe the least efficient way of doing it, but for some reason, the Tahona method. One of the oldest methods of making it. It adds this aromatics to the Blanco, which are really, really compelling. So what I love about our Blanco is that it smells like you're walking into Cascahuin distillery. And that for me, transports you into what really Agave is. It's supposed to taste like and smell like and so I think we really nailed our first people call the batches, but we call them vintages of tequila. You know, they're unique each one and while the industry as a whole is trying to make them as uniform as possible, we believe they're more like vintages of tequila. Of wine and so they're supposed to be we're supposed to be celebrating the different vintages of these

Doug Price: products for both of you guys For your backgrounds in wine as you were watching him and tasting Nicholas even watching fermentation I mean all these things come into play That that had to have gotten you guys excited just with your love for wine and knowing How much goes into that process? What was that like? As you guys were trying batches of this and you, you had mentioned that you tweaked a little bit, but you know, Nicholas, you tasting it for one of the first times, I mean, I'm sure it had to have been pretty special.

Nicholas Lutz: Yeah, it was fascinating. you know, just the nuances, you know, changing, like Adam talked about, you know, combining Tahona and roller mill for the Blanco. You know, even moving 5% one way or the other made a huge difference. Huge. You know also changing the alcohol content. You know, there was a lot of debate on our Blanco whether to go 40 or to go 43 or 42. Like some other, like our that's coming out is gonna be a 42. Love it. Where our rep was a 43. so back to what Adam talked about, we really want to get out of Chaves way and, and respect, you know, his expertise on all these products.

That's probably the most important thing to our brand, right? Is to, we brought on Chava for a reason. We want him to run with, you know, each, not only expression, but each vintage within that expression. Cause next year, our Blanco could be 42. Our Reposado could be 44. Okay. We're really going to let, we're going to let the juice guide the decisions. I think it's a mistake to, you know, have continuity for the sake of continuity. If the, if the, If the land is speaking to you through the final tequila product to do something else, that's exactly what we're going to do. And so for our Blanco, you know, we tested, tasted through, you know, all these different percentage changes and really the 70 30 landed perfectly for us. It gave us that just a nice amount of, you know, like Adam said, that aromatic flavor, but then, you know, also an herbal quality to it, you know, and a sweetness and a smooth finish. That some of the other percentages just did not do.

Doug Price: Adam, for you tasting this and, and, you know, going back and forth and seeing and, and having the tweaks, what was it like for you?

Adam Craun: I'm so proud of Chava. When I drink that, that's what I, that's what I like about this the most. I can't, I can't, I can't express to you. This is about showcasing this artistry and, and this artist specifically. And that's what Nicholas and I, this is really not about us. This is about trying to showcase this guy and. We told him we're going to make him famous on our very first meeting that we had. So that's, that's certainly a personal selfish goal of mine.

Doug Price: He's getting well on his way, especially when he walks around Guadalajara. He's like the mayor of that place. I mean, he's, he's, he's getting on his way.

Adam Craun: But certainly we'd love to have you down to the distillery when we're there as well and taste through what we're tasting through. And you can really see what the barrel program does. To these expressions and how much of an impact it really has it's absolutely fascinating.

Doug Price: Yeah, I looked this Blanco. I mean, it's just got everything you want to see in a Blanco. I mean that crispness that clean that that minerality is there. there. I mean, this is something to sip on. And I love that you guys are going, Hey, Chava, we're, we're not looking for one base. And then that base goes into the barrel and it just continues on. And there's nothing wrong with that as many brands do that. But I mean, he's making different tequilas. It's, it's different. It's different production processes for him and for him to go, Hey, On, I mean, you got your notes have got to be really detailed because you go, well, what are we making today? We're on the Blanco. Okay, the Blanco is going to be this and that's going to be different than what we go into the barrel So really great with this Blanco that being said i've i've got the Joven and I was going to maybe jump to the repo So the base for these are different Because it's not the same base. How did you guys create that? And just say, Hey, Java, do your thing. And you tested it, but, but that's a different Blanco that becomes the Joven, the Reposado so on. Correct?

Nicholas Lutz: Yeah. So with that, you know, we wanted, we, we wanted the roller mill was great by itself, but to Adam's point, you know, we wanted very, very distinct Blanco to stand on its own. But we did want a little bit of continuity. Going into the barrel program right so we could really taste what those barrels were doing to us You know that that is an age product right here. You're tasting more the barrel You're getting that aging process and you're getting that fit and finish in you know Smooth feel from the barrels and so year over year. We wanted to have some continuity now again the alcohol percentage might change year to year, but Chava's recommendation was actually that we go in with the roller mill to have some consistency and really feel out the barrels themselves as we go through the aging process. This

Doug Price: Joven, this is a blend of your Blanco and the Reposado. So is that Blanco, the original Blanco that's blended with your new Reposado, or is it the roller mill Blanco for that continuity?

Nicholas Lutz: This is our actual Blanco that's blended with the Reposado.

Doug Price: And what made you guys say, Hey, we, you know, let's, let's take care of a, a Joven is going to be a Blanco blended with any aged expression. You guys went with a Reposado, but what was it that made you guys want to come out with a Joven?

Nicholas Lutz: we wanted to try it. We wanted to sample it, see what, see what we got. Right. and we also, you know, and we're going to do this every single year. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. For example, you know, we tried to do a Blanco Rosa. This first vintage. It wasn't perfect. So we did not release. and we're going to do that every single year. So, you know, if the Blanco turns out like it did this year, it'll be another small production for us next year. but it's all based on quality and what the juice is telling us to do.

Doug Price: And Adam, with you, with these barrels. You're shipping these barrels. I mean, tell me a little more about these hundred point. These are French oak. These are cab seven yawn barrels. Correct. And they're coming from California that previously held momentum. Mori. Are they, are they wet and then shipped down or what? What's the process with incorporating these barrels?

Adam Craun: Yeah. So a great question. And a lot of thought went into this. And so, so these barrels, I, I can't express to you enough, they are earmarked for the best producers for wine in the world. So there's several thousand dollars a piece just to, just if you can have access to these barrels and we're fortunate enough at Memento Mori to have them. So we age, they're all 100 percent French New Oak. When we age our Memento Mori wines, we make about 4, 000 cases of that wine now. And then at the end of those three years, we usually pull them in, in June timeframe. And then Nicholas and I we ship those barrels from Napa Valley down to Cascahuin. Funny story the first, we were so excited that the first vintage, we, we shipped them down to Cascahuin and Cascahuin just wasn't ready for us. And so they, they sat outside at Cascahuin. For almost a year and they dried out and we lost them. And so that was difficult to stomach, I will tell you, but we learned a lesson. So, you know, the timing is very important. The idea is that every time that we finish a Vintage of Memento Mori, we immediately get them down to Cascahuin. As we improve

Doug Price: our processes. And you say, how quickly can you get these filled to avoid any, any drying out? No, I love it. I love seeing, again, the barrel interplay and for you guys with the wine background to go, you know, like with anything, you don't know what it's going to do. I mean, even if there are barrels that you're familiar with and you go, Hey, how is this going to interplay with a tequila for an Añejo, extra Añejo? There's a lot of just trial and error and you're tasting and, and, you know, you guys are saying, Hey, we're going to pull this. Once this is ready. I mean, this Joven here, very light in color, very light in color. And you don't even see it because the bottle you have with the Joven is this gorgeous matte black. I mean, you just can't really see the liquid in this for the Joven, but very light in color. But you've got a Reposado that's four months and we're going to get to that Reposado. But I imagine you guys are pulling one based on what Chava's kind of giving you some, some insight on, but also going, Hey, we're, we're not aging. To age, we're aging to taste and to go, Hey, we tasted it. It's ready. Let's pull it. And then to add it with this Blanco.

Adam Craun: Yeah. So, you know, something that's interesting. And there was a, there was a strategic reason for doing that is that this Joven will essentially be different every time we'll be blending different products. So the color, it will look different. And so we have a matte black. First of all, we, we love matte black. And so having, so it's going to be a different color. So we want the consumer to understand that it's, it is our Joven and it's a unique blend every single time. But since it has a different color, we want people to understand that this is everything we make is extraordinarily special, but this, this will be really unique and different from everything. But. You know, again, Chava decision about what that blend is going to be and the percentages. It's his, it's, it's his baby.

Doug Price: This Joven is great. I love the, I love that we're seeing more incredible Jovens this, this lightness here. You've got that Tahona blend of that Blanco coming in with this Reposado is coming in a little higher ABV. So you know, it really showcases that Blanco, but then when that Repo gets into it, it, it, To me just kind of it rounds. It's I just brings it up another level of profile and complexity with it And and a really really delicious sipping Joven with what you guys have for this this first lot When did you guys release this? How new is this?

Nicholas Lutz: It came out end of January

Doug Price: Yeah. I mean, people to get this, I get a niece, I get some cinnamon off of this. And, and, you know, like I said, as, as we're marrying the barrels to these agaves, you're also doing the same thing with your original Blanco to this reposado, which is really impressive. Did I, did I see you guys recently? Were you at Coachella? Did I see bottles of, of, was it this or the repo I've seen on, on social media?

Adam Craun: Yeah, this is a fascinating story, actually. So one of my One of my customers at Momentum Warriors, and one of my best friends now, is the president of AEG. Okay. And they're global touring and they produce Coachella and Stagecoach kind of some of the biggest bands and acts and shows in the world. And he's head of the global touring, unbelievable human being, A plus human being. And he called and said, you know, we, we normally we gift a bottle of another producer. I won't say who it is, but a producer as a thank you to all of the artists that are playing at Coachella. And he said, I would much rather give them a bottle of El Negocio as a thank you from us. And so Nicholas and I scrambled and they bought a few hundred bottles to give to all the artists. And one of the larger artists that performed on Coachella on Saturday, Took a bottle out on stage. I saw it. Yeah, he was on the main stage and he drank half a bottle of it during his performance, by the way, which is amazing.

Doug Price: We don't know if I'd recommend that much, but pretty awesome for him to, to be out there and join it. Yeah.

Adam Craun: And so, you know, I, I had my phone blew up with about 50 people, you know, a couple, I had friends out there. and said, is that your tequila? That guy's drinking on stage right now. And it was, so it's really neat. It was a kind of a just happenstance that that happened. It was, I'm really grateful to my friend that he did that, but I think we're in the right place at the right time. Yeah.

Doug Price: It's great. I mean, if he didn't already know about great quality tequila, he does now, and I'm pretty sure he tasted it. And the reason why he drank so much of it, because it was probably unlike anything he had tasted before, which is pretty awesome.

Adam Craun: Well, I, you know, it's a, it's certainly a win. It's a win for additive free tequila. And the neat thing was his manager reached out and said, he'd love to meet you. But this tequila reminds him of the old tequilas that he used to drink when he was younger. And I think for us, that's such a win because. We're trying to showcase what Mexico is really about. And so for me, that was my favorite part, to be honest.

Doug Price: So we've gone through this Blanco, this beautiful Joven, and then this Reposado. This Reposado, the color on this, I mean, it, it does not look like it's been four months, five months or so in the barrel. Beautiful, beautiful color. How did we get this color? You said those barrels at one point just said, Hey, it's time to give a, but talk to me a little bit about this reposado.

Adam Craun: So, wow. Look at this color of this reposado. First first of all, it looks like an extra and, and, and, and this is a credit to using real barrels. I mean, that. There's a reason we use these certain barrels in Napa Valley. We've been doing this for a very long time and the best producers in the wine world have been doing this for a hundred years. And so they've, they've, they we really have gotten to know the barrel programs really well. I don't think we anticipated the color to change that much. And so it's really, really exciting. What you'll notice is really the nose and the taste. On a reposado and what an impact it had. So we thought that we would have these in the barrels six to eight to nine months, because we wanted the impact. To be huge. And right at four months, we had Chava taste them every two weeks along the way. And Chava, you tell us when it's ready. Chava, you tell us when it's ready. And he's being pulled in all different directions. And he, he, he called us at four months and said, this is ready. This is unbelievable. And so Nick and I went down and we tasted it and, and we agreed. So we're really pleased with this, the color and the profile. And, you know, certainly it feels like the flagship product for us right now. That might always change, but. I love, I love this product.

Doug Price: Yeah, I love that it's at 43. The nose, even after it's sat in this glass for, you know, 10 15 minutes, you come back and the nose is completely different. It starts to open up, you know, we talked about the color. Even on the palette, if you told me this was an Añejo, I'd go, I can see that. I mean, it, it's got the agaves there, but that barrel, and this just continues to tell the story and show when you've got great agaves and people that know how to utilize them and they are married with these beautiful barrels. I mean, there's, there's citrus here, but there's also chocolate. I get a little dryness on the back end, but then flavor just comes through with it and just a really delicious, I mean, to sip on all three. Delicious. But later tonight, I got a buddy coming over from out of town and I think I'm grabbing this repo and we're just going to sit out there and enjoy this. I mean, really, really delicious. Nicholas, for you, when you tasted this, I'm at 43%, a little different than, you know, most are coming out with the 40. But what was that like for you when, when you got to, to try this repo?

Nicholas Lutz: I absolutely loved it. I was absolutely blown away. And like I said, we, you know, we, we were. Concerned, obviously during the aging process and when Java called and we got him said, said it was ready, we were shocked and excited when we tasted, we were absolutely blown away. You know, I get a lot of the chocolate when I drank that too. And I also get a ton of orange in it, but it couldn't be happier with that. And we're so excited with the Añejo being now ready.

Doug Price: I'm listening. I know that you've got, you've got some things in the works and, and you did talk about a Rosa. You said, Hey, it just didn't get to where we wanted it to go. So is that something that you're going to continue to try and. And, and dial that in, or are you going, Hey, we're, we've got some other things we're working on.

Nicholas Lutz: You know, I'd never say fail. we're going to continue trying and eventually we'll get it. you know, we'll keep, we'll keep trying what we just need to get the right barrels down there that came from Memento Mori on Tuesday and we get them filled on Wednesday. Maybe that'll be the key.

Doug Price: And on the Añejo, when do you see that hitting, hitting the U S market?

Nicholas Lutz: So it, it just got pulled from the barrels. But last week, right, Adam?

Adam Craun: That's right. That's right. Yeah.

Nicholas Lutz: So it's, it's sitting in our tanks now. We just got a CRT approval on our label. because we had to settle again on the ABV with Chava. So until it was out and he said, you know, what he thought the best ABV was, we couldn't do the The label approval CRT. Yeah. So we, we estimate we should be June timeframe. We should have it out.

Doug Price: Adam look like it like don't worry. So June, June, we'll have 20, we're hoping

Nicholas Lutz: for June,

Doug Price: hoping, hoping for June. But as you look, we all know. How, you know, sometimes things take time and, and, you know, you guys, the good news is that it's spent the time in the barrel. It's where you guys are all happy with it. And now you're kind of going through some of that back end with it. And speaking of time, I think I saw on your website that 2027 might also be a great year for you guys, because are you thinking maybe that's when an extra Añejo might, might be presenting itself?

Adam Craun: We haven't tucked away. And so we'll see what happens. That that's the plan, but we'll see. Yeah. We want to make them all. We want to, again, this is Chava making these decisions for us. He's telling us what the, the ABV should be, and we're not making those decisions. We're, we're letting him be an artist. So that's what I love about our project is that we're, we're really letting him. Again, I keep saying this over and over, but this is about him and, and, and what he, what he can do and his, and his skill. And we're just showcasing it.

Doug Price: Yeah. No, I love it. This, this lineup so far, I mean, so impressive. I'm excited to see what else you guys come out with. I love sharing great tequila with wine lovers because they've got a great palate and they really understand terroir. I bet it's been fun for you guys to share this with some of the Memento Mori people, some of your other friends that are wine lovers. What has it been like in their response as you're bringing them into the story?

Adam Craun: It's fascinating. You know, I. When I think of Memento Mori customers, it's like a family, my best friends, literally my best friend, my very first customer is because of Memento Mori wine, and it feels like a community. And a family. And when I announced to the customers of Memento Mori that Nicholas and I were making this, it's been an overwhelming support of this brand. So it's very humbling of the community that we've built. And, and we're trying to do the same thing with El Negocio is have, you know, loyal customers that we're friends with that get to know us and are as part of the brand. And I think that's what we do in the wine world that I think might be missing from the tequila world is that it feels separate and I don't think it should be. I think it should feel a connection to the product and the people. And that's what I'm hoping that, that we can bring to this, this business

Doug Price: guys, congrats on this incredible tequila. Chava is such an amazing guy and tequila producer making great tequila to share is awesome, but using that great tequila to impact the world is really great. And you guys both have a philanthropy background. There's even an aspect of that with El Negocio with, with your sales, isn't there?

Nicholas Lutz: Yeah. So I've been involved with Charity Water for the last decade with multiple businesses I'm involved in. and we really wanted to tie in the water aspect back into this product. And so one, we're, for every bottle we sell a portion 1 goes to charity water and it goes directly to well projects. So directly to the actual well itself, not to, you know, they're bored, not to people working there, but a hundred percent of our money goes directly to the field to solve the water crisis, which is, you know, been a huge, a bit of huge import to me and Adam. Yeah. We wanted to make sure we were given back.

Doug Price: Yeah, no, I love it. I used to work for a couple of different NGOs and, and I've been a part of similar things and, and. Visited places in Africa and just seen you know the water is life and for you guys to give life is a pretty special thing and to use the tour the widget as tequila or wine to then say hey we're gonna use this but over here we're gonna go impact. A completely different area or around the same area that still needs the impact is, is a pretty special thing. So I, I love tequila but, but I love people more and I love impacting people's lives and changing lives. And, and you guys is, I can tell just woven throughout this interview and this story that, that that's what you guys are about with this. So congrats on that. You guys are certainly handling the business El Negocio like you set out to do. Before I let you guys go, I want to make sure website is elnegociotequila. com. That's where they can purchase, they can sign up for access to future releases, and they can learn more about the brand. But Adam, Nicholas, guys, congrats on this incredible brand. I'm actually going to be with you guys in a few days at Good Juice, so I'm looking forward to spending some time with you guys there. Looking forward to it. Thanks for being on the show, and congrats on all the success of El Negocio. Cheers.

Nicholas Lutz: Cheers. Thank you.

Adam Craun: The honor is ours. Thanks, Doug.

Doug Price: Salud. See you guys. Take care. That was Adam and Nicholas from El Negocio Tequila. To learn more about the brand, you can go to